By Ahmed Almulla
Exploring Bahrain on a public bus.
This is for all you public transportation aficionados out there, as well as transit visitors that want to explore Bahrain for the day.
Starting early morning from Bahrain International Airport, I rode the bus that takes you to Muharraq Terminal for a 300-fils single ticket. At the terminal, you can get a Go-Card with a full-day pass for an additional cost of BHD 1.100.
Leaving Muharraq Terminal, I took the bus to my first stop, Manama Souq, reaching there within 12 minutes. Then it’s only a couple of minutes’ walk to Haji Café (Gahwa) where I had breakfast. This place is more than 60 years old and serves all kinds of Bahraini foods; I ordered a traditional eggs and tomato dish along with tea with milk (Chai Haleeb). This came down to only 800 fils and it was delicious and filling, especially since the dish comes with a couple of complementary Naan breads. Orders are usually served fast at this place so don’t expect to spend more than 15 minutes here.
Leaving Haji Café, you can take a walk around the traditional souq market nearby, beginning from the Bahraini landmark, Bab Al Bahrain and going all the way up to Gold City and beyond. Here you can shop for all kinds of souvenirs, spices, sweets, electronics and clothing.
Next, I headed to Beit Al Quran in Hoora, arriving there within five minutes and walking for about half a kilometer. Entry at Beit Al Quran is free of charge but people are encouraged to donate in support of the museum. It hosts some of the most valuable Islamic art collections and Quranic manuscripts that go back for centuries, showcasing some beautiful calligraphy from across the ages. Expect to spend about an hour here.
Next stop on my bus route? City Centre Mall. This took me around 40 minutes. The mall experience is pretty self-explanatory; cafes and shopping, cinemas and restaurants.
Bahrain is rich with history, so for my next stop I chose to go to Khamis Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Bahrain. To reach there, I took a 20-minute bus ride from City Centre Mall to Manama Bus Station, then switched to another bus that took me to Khamis Mosque in about 20 more minutes. Khamis Mosque is a heritage site that’s free to explore and I encourage you to soak in the history and culture of this location.
I soon after made my way back to Muharraq Terminal by taking a bus to Ras Rumman, which took 25 minutes, followed by a 10-minute ride to Muharraq Bus Station. There’s a lovely spot here, Al Rayyan Café, which serves an excellent Machboos Hamour or Safi dish until 5 p.m. (cost is between BHD 1.5-2.5). I also recommend checking out Halwa Showaiter, a shop that specializes in traditional Bahraini sweets (get a box of mixed delights for BHD 2-3).
I made my final leg back to the airport in 10 minutes. The entire journey was convenient, affordable and, above all else, enjoyable. Highly recommended for all tourists.